Oh my gosh, you guys, you cannot believe the day I have had.
I decided this morning that there is no time like the present, so I called the local day care not more 'n a mile from my house, spoke with the NICEST lady, and she said, sure, come on in and visit. I loaded daddy in the car, and off we went.
I totally blindsided him with this. About 1 minute from our destination, I told him that we were going to go meet some new friends. And I hustled him out of the car, rang the bell at the facility, and same nice lady met us at the gate.
Daddy was totally polite, if confused. No surprise. We walked into this lovely place, with lots of day care/respite/full care clients.
I gotta tell ya', my first thought was "Daddy does NOT belong here. He is too high functioning!" There were clients with walkers, some staring off into space, some walking gingerly, some in wheelchairs, and most of them were either non verbal or minimally so. Clearly, dad did not belong here. But we had imposed on their routine, so might as well make the best of it.
Daddy met some folks, shook hands, smiled and even laughed a couple of times, and I told him it would be nice for him to meet some friends his own age. He said yes, and when we were invited to stay for lunch, I accepted. They sat daddy at the men's table with Ernie, Bernie and Paul. Ernie was surprisingly kinda like dad. He could talk, but made no sense. Bernie was 60 years old, and quite verbal. Paul didn't speak.
The administrater hustled me away to see the respite care and full care area, and I kept looking back to see if daddy would be scared or upset. Nope. He just tucked into his meatloaf and mac and cheese and struck up a conversation with Ernie. Neither of them were making any sense at all, but it was a give and take conversation, anyway. I saw daddy smile a couple of times, and laugh once. I haven't seen him laugh in months.
After a 20 minute tour, I was concerned about dad, and went back to the dining room. Y'all...he never even missed me. He was eating, and talking to Ernie, and didn't seem to give a care if I was there or not. The super nice administrator talked with daddy to see if he was really too high functioning (because I opened my big mouth and said so), and guess what? Yep. I am still paddling happily down the river "De-Nile". She said he fit right in. I was still not so sure (Not MY daddy! He is still so capable! He can sweep leaves! He can put on his own shoes!), but as I watched, I could tell. He did indeed, fit right in.
We stayed a couple of hours, and when we left, I made the decision NOT to talk to him about our visit. Just like when you take a 3 yr old to the doctor for shots. It is what it is, and that's that. He never mentioned it. Neither did I, till supper tonight. I said to him, "We sure had a nice day, didn't we?" And he agreed. Then I said, "And you met new friends!" And he smiled.
Anecdote: One of the ladies there, Emily, is a happy happy patient. Laughs and giggles all the time. Very mobile, but very demented. She took a shine to dad, and she actually leaned over and kissed him on the cheek! Like, 4 times! And he LIKED IT! Wow!
We got home, and I started wading through all the paperwork, insurance calls, checking coverage (you will never believe this: His supplemental insurance has respite care coverage!), making copies of POA, faxing...but here's the bottom line:
Daddy will be in adult day care at least 2 days a week! I can choose the days, no reservation necessary. Just drop in. And for payment? They BILL! At the end of the month, I will get a bill, write a check, and be done! And the respite care is right there, with the same folks, and is a reasonable $180 for 24 hours.
I can't believe this. I am starting to make plans for what I am going to do with my life for 2 days a week!
I don't know whether to be sad that dad has progressed this far, or to be thrilled that I will have a couple days off a week. I think I am thrilled. Truly.
Dear L'il Deb,
Wow, what a day you and dad have had!!! I'm quite sure everyone else here when they read your post will also agree it couldnt have gone any better!!!!
I'm sure it must have been quite an experience for you. I couldnt help but think when I read your post, that it is like when you first take your child to kindergarten or daycare, and leave them for a time....it can be nervewrecking to say the least. You watch so intensely to see if they are comfortable in that environment, if they look frightened, and I know that when it comes to your child, your whole take on it, comes from them, their reaction. If they react well, so do you, if they dont, you're upset the whole day. This sounds almost the same to me - your dad's reaction really set the tone for the success of the day, god bless both of you for getting this in motion. I think the 2 days a week will be wonderful not just for you, but for your dad......if he will be able to enjoy time with some new friends, then you are not taking anything "away" from him by this new endeavour, you are "giving" him some enjoyment in life!!
Way to go Deb.......I'm so happy to read how things are going for you, you deserve every positive and peaceful moment!!!!
Love, Caroline xo
I am thrilled little Deb....... what a wonderful beginning. You have to remember they are "in the moment". At that moment he was having a grand time with his new friends and even got a kiss or four. Who wouldn't enjoy that. He was socializing, in his own way, with friends his age and eating yummy food. It sounds like he is going to fit right in. And yes.... you have two days a weeks to do something other than run back and forth from your house to his. The next day he goes... I want you to not go back home but to go out somewhere and do something for yourself. Buy a new dress, get your nails done, get a haircut, or just go sit in a real resturant (not McDonalds) and enjoy lunch with a friend. Then you can go back home and take a NAP. You have so earned it.....
As for the trip down De Nile... Yep but you are getting there. To be honest I have moments when I think... hummm Mom remembered so and so.... maybe she's not as bad as I thought. Then I remember the cat story from last night and shake off that feeling. We truly don't want our loved ones to be this way but they are... so sometimes we appease ourselves by allowing ourselves to think maybe not when we know they are. We just have to remember that when the time comes for the hard decisions, like you are now, we see with clear eyes or at least listen to those who do have clear eyes. You are doing so great. You can't change where your Dad is but you are dealing with it like a trooper!!! I'm so very proud of you....
That first step to the day care must of been the hardest. You succeeded with it!!! It went very well and that is wonderful!!! I am so glad for you!!!
I will be doing that same step next with Mom. She is in a rehab recovering from a bad infection in her toe. That same facility which is 2 seconds up the street from our house has the day care program that we were trying to get mom to do all summer, but she would not budge on it. So I have a great plan worked out. She is due to get discharged from the rehab soon so I thought I would set her up for 2 days a week for the day care. It will follow right after her discharge. That way I will tell her they are letting you leave the rehab BUT you need to do the day program 2 days a week for awhile. I will tell her it is a requirement they have set for her. That way they are the bad guys not Dad or myself. She is familiar with the facility and the people there already. I know it will prove to be a smooth transition. She just never wanted to it. I think the plan I have now is perfect timing. I am going in today to talk to them about it.
I know she will like it once she starts it. The other day I was wheeling her down to the dinner table and she said Oh I hope I can sit next to the lady I was talking to at lunch. She is very nice. She still likes to interact with people its just a big PUSH to get her there!!
I hope the second and all the rest of the visits to day care go well for your dad. Like Deb Gabriel said: Do something extraordinary that you normally would not do for yourself!!!!
I am so proud of you. I know one day this can happen to others as well. Keep paddling down the river of de Nile and you will find that beautiful place where you will find peace in your heart.
As the wonderful lady doctor told Sister on Wednesday. You are not a bad daughter. You can not make excuses and keep taking the blame for all the failures your parent has. This is a life's journey, she lived hers and you have to live yours.
Please find some places or things that fulfill you.
I am clapping and cheering for your 2-days a week.
What a wonderful first step. The first one is the hardest. I'm so very glad for you and your Dad. OOPS.....Just realized I repeated Paulines words. But its so true. Little steps at first until you feel comfortable. I never dreamed that Mom would "join in" at AL. She does. Of course we push her a little.
I'm happy for you lil' deb. This will help I'm sure. ENJOY!!!!!!!
Your description reminded me of our first visit to daycare too. I really didn't think DH belonged there with the severely disabled patients even though he couldn't be alone anymore when I was working. I told him that he was really going to be a volunteer and help them out since he was so high functioning....when in fact, I later realized that he actually did fit right in. I was worried that a full day of activities would exhaust him, but they are very experienced at not pushing patients too much. I worried that he wouldn't like the meals, but he loves them. I worried that he would get cranky with other patients, but he smiles and laughs with them all day (he may feel more comfortable there, since there is absolutely no pressure on the patients to do anything they don't want to do). It's been a real blessing.
DH as been going to day care three days a week for over a year now. (Occasionally he'll tell me that it's free since he works for them carrying things and helping with less mobile patients.) It's actually cheaper and he's happier on day-care days than on the days that I have a lady who takes care of him in our home! They said that as long as he isn't violent or otherwise disruptive, they'll keep him right up to the time that he needs a nursing home. What a relief!
Congratulations on getting some of your life back!
Day care is the missing element in the care system here. We have in home care, AL, rest homes, and nursing homes... but there is almost no respit of daycare available. There are some senior centers but they are not designed for dementia patients. Perhaps one day
Lil Deb, It's so nice to see that you have taken that big girl step. Daddy I'm not worried about. He would be happy as long as the rocks are there and the mac and cheese is good. But you...Ferocious defender of dads! He will fit in because he belongs there. If you could see without the rose colored glasses you would know that that is where Daddy belongs..kisses and all! Maybe they will take the dog too. And I love dogs...
Lil Deb, my experience is the opposite so far. I just got the call this morning that my MIL can start next week at the adult day center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm afraid that it won't be long before they tell me that she doesn't fit in because she's too far along! The main reason for that is one of their criteria is being "continent of bowel." She is, but she's so messy in the bathroom, actually, she's disgusting and unsanitary. She doesn't wipe well (and we're not yet at the stage that I can do that for her, though I see that coming), and she forgets where to put the used toilet paper. It often lands in the trash can. She leaves behind reminders when she leaves the bathroom. I try to pop in there after her constantly to wipe the seat and floor with Clorox wipes to get up the little particles. Also the sink faucet and door handles.
I'm hoping that "messy" is acceptable. I dread hearing "don't come back" when I pick her up on that first day! At least I'll get one day of shopping done without her tagging along trying to buy inappropriate things!
Those that deal with dementia on a regular basis have techniques for dealing with just about everything. Perhaps they can even be of help in this situation. Don't give up before you start. Get that one day of shopping done and hope for many more. Perhaps even a well deserved nap at some point. I will keep you and your Mom in my thoughts and prayers that this will work for you both....